Is Mouth Breathing Causing You Dental Problems?
It is ideal to breathe through our noses, but some people tend to breathe through their mouths instead. Mouth breathing can occur during normal daytime hours, but affects people while sleeping most often. It is usually a side effect of sleep apnea.
What causes mouth breathing?
Anyone who has ever had a bad head cold has had moments of being so stuffed up that they can’t breathe through their nose if they wanted to. Main causes of mouth breathing include:
- Chronic colds
- Deviated nasal septum
- Inflamed and/or enlarged tonsils
- History of thumb sucking
Why Mouth Breathing Matters
Mouth breathing can lead to generally annoying conditions like excessive snoring, but there are many other health impacts that mouth breathing can have on a person.
- Difficulty breathing and getting a proper night’s sleep
- Bad breath caused by dry teeth and mouth
- Hoarseness due to airways being dry
- Open mouthed appearance
- Dental problems like an irregular bite, teeth grinding and jaw pain
- Worsened asthma
- Development of a lisp
The important factor to treating mouth breathing is to understand what the underlying cause is. Understanding that is important to ensure proper treatment methods are used. There are several ways to help you breathe through your nose. Nasal sprays and nose strips are quick and easy methods that work for many people. Another simple method that works for many is to tighten the muscles that keep the mouth closed right before going to bed by chewing gum for about ten minutes before going to sleep.
Your dentist may recommend a custom-made mouth guard to wear while sleeping. The main reason is to keep the jaw in the correct position which allows the airway to open up better. This can also be a helpful aid for people with bruxism and TMJ. If sleep apnea is severe, a sleep apnea machine may also be prescribed by your doctor.